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Home / Politics / Policy /  Amar Singh returns to SP as Rajya Sabha candidate

New Delhi: A year ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, and six years after his expulsion from the Samajwadi Party, Amar Singh, 60, once regarded as one of the wiliest political minds in the country, is back in the party.

On Tuesday, the party declared Singh, once inseparable from its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, as one of its seven candidates for membership of the Rajya Sabha.

Elections to the upper house are scheduled for June.

“This is a well thought out decision and our party will benefit from it in the future," said Shivpal Singh Yadav, senior leader and brother of Mulayam Singh Yadav. He said there was no opposition to Singh’s candidature at a meeting of the parliamentary board of the party that preceded the announcement.

Also returning to the fold, in this case after nine years, was Beni Prasad Verma, 75, who left the Samajwadi Party for the Congress and was once considered close to that party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Verma too was named as one of the party’s candidates for the Rajya Sabha.

“Singh has been trying to come back to Samajwadi Party for the past three years and Mulayam Singh Yadav often said that Singh is close to his heart," said a senior Samajwadi Party leader who is based in Lucknow and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Amar Singh and his associate, actor Jaya Prada, were expelled from the Samajwadi Party in February 2010. He floated his own political party, Rashtriya Lok Manch, in 2011, and unsuccessfully fielded a number of candidates in the 2012 assembly polls in the state. In 2014, ahead of the parliamentary elections, he and Jaya Prada joined Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). Singh contested the 2014 Lok Sabha poll from Fatehpur Sikri but lost.

The Samajwadi Party’s choice of candidates would appear to be driven by next year’s elections. Of the seven candidates, three are upper caste Rajputs and two belong to the other backward classes (OBCs). Party leaders say this is aimed at consolidating the party’s base in the central and eastern parts of the state.

“Beni Prasad Verma is a Kurmi, an OBC. Vishambhar Prasad Nishad (one of the other candidates) is also an OBC. Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress party are trying to capture OBC votes in Uttar Pradesh and Samajwadi Party is trying to tell the people that the party and government have been working for them," the SP leader added.

Apart from Amar Singh and Beni Prasad Verma, the other leaders who have been nominated for the Rajya Sabha are Sanjay Seth, Sukhram Singh Yadav, Revati Raman Singh, Vishambhar Prasad Nishad and Arvind Pratap Singh.

Uttar Pradesh is set to go to the polls in May 2017.

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